Colorado 2000 Draft Review

By Mike Kretschmer

The Deal…

The Avs management has returned from the 2000 Entry and Expansion Drafts with a smile. Despite a flurry of deals, the Avs stood strong, and only made one questionable deal. Many were shocked by the trade of All-Star defender Sandis Ozolinsh, and the lack of perceived value that the Avs got in return. While it would have been wiser for the Avs to try to trade Ozo to different team for more value, you must remember that Ozolinsh’s value is diminished by the fact that Carolina still has to sign him to a heavy $5 million contract. A signed Ozo is worth more than an unsigned one, thus the return Colorado received. Having another physical defender in Nolan Pratt on the squad is a benefit. In the playoffs, defenders like Greg DeVries and Eric Messier weren’t enough against strong trapping teams like Dallas. A pairing of Pratt and Miller or Klemm could be the Avs 3rd pair.

As expected…

The Bruins exercised their option to take the Avs first round pick this year. This almost left the Avs with out a pick until the second round. But, they were fortunate to acquire a pick (14th), plus 2 second round ones from Carolina in the Ozolinsh trade.

The Draft:

1. Vaclav Nedorost, C This was a great, solid pick, unlike last year’s risky selection of Kuleshov, which came with a great deal of uncertainty. Nedorost is a good, dependable center. At best, he’s a 1st line winger, playing the corners, and making great passes. At worst, he’s a 3rd line defensive center, working hard to defend against opposing lines. No real weakness in his game, but no glaring strengths, besides his skating. Great skater, and above average passing make Nedorost the type of player that teams will think back and wish they had drafted. Nedorost is expected to be a good defensive forward, with occasional playmaking ability. Could he become a Jere Lehtinen type of forward? Colorado hopes so…

2. Jared Aulin, C Colorado was very impressed with Aulin, who had an off year, due to injuries which caused his draft position to fall a bit. Compared to be a Josh Holden/Jason Ward type of player, Aulin has a ways to go to be considered NHL type material. He’s a little cocky, but a great leader in the room; the type of player Colorado may be needing soon. He likely won’t be a first line type of player, but he’s the type that could make he team as a second line winger or third line center.

3. Sergei Soin, F This was a great selection, one of Colorado’s more impressive selections on the first day. Soin is likely one of the top skaters in the draft, and can play any forward position, maybe even defense. Soin could be a great 3rd line player; aka a Jon Klemm type forechecker, who can move up and down when needed in a defensive role.

4. Agris Saviels, D Here was another surprise pick on a day in which a Latvian defenseman was trade, we gained another one is Agris Saviels, who could turn out to be a Sandis Ozolinsh clone. While such a possibility is questionable, Saviels is a power play specialist, and is one of the better passing defenseman in the OHL. Unlike some of the other defenseman drafted by Colorado, Saviels is a step ahead in terms of development, due to playing in the OHL. He also has a little bit more size than players like Liles and Bahen.

5. Kurt Sauer, D The first physical defenseman taken by the Avs in the draft. Sauer has the WHL size that every team seeks in the draft, but does he have the speed and lateral movement that is necessary to make it to the NHL? Hershey prospects, such as Rick Berry and Ben Storey, are still having trouble in that area. Sauer has good roots in athletics, with a older brother playing football for the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, and another brother in the Predator’s farm system.

6. Sergei Kliazmin, LW This guy came out of nowhere, and I’ll be the first to admit, information about him comes just as easy as info. on Kuleshov does. The books say that he’s a good scoring type, but lacks size. If he can find the good fortune of being drafted in the import draft by a CHL team, he might have a good chance of learning how to play North American hockey. If not, don’t expect to hear about him being the next ‘Milan Hejduk’, because it won’t happen.

7. Brian Fahey, D A teammate of top pick Dany Heatley, Fahey is a solid defenseman with a decent shot. Not really specifically good in any particular area, Fahey is a good prospect who will need some time to adjust and develop to the pro game, if he ever makes it. His numbers have been pretty good at Wisconsin, but is that just because it’s just a strong team, or is it because of his skill?

8. John-Michael Liles, D Another smooth skating and fast stickhandling defenseman. Liles hails from that hockey hotbed of Indiana, and has been a star on the National Junior Development team for a while. He’s also rated as one top three puck moving defenseman in the NCAA today. Liles has NHL quality skating right now. His disadvantage? That would be his 5-10 size. He is a key component to a strong Michigan State offense.

9. Chris Bahen, D Another ‘puckhandling’ type of defenseman picked by Colorado. You can never have enough of these types. Compared favorably to Edmonton’s Tom Poti, Fahey is a very intelligent puck handler, and may become a big star in Division I hockey. A great mix of stickhandling and skating, but he needs to work on the size to be an effective AHL or NHL player. He has a bit more size than Liles, but around the same ability level.

10. Aaron Molnar, G The first of two goaltenders selected by Colorado, you may all remember Molnar from the whole ‘scholarship’ fiasco, from when he was originally drafted by Plymouth. Molnar is one of many players to find their draft stock plummet a few rounds on draft day. Molnar is a good reflex goalie, and doesn’t really have a strong title as either a stand up guy or a strictly butterfly guy. He has a great amount of potential as a prospect, especially since the Avs are severely low in the goaltending department right now.

11. Darryl Bootland, RW Another Bootland in the system. Darryl Bootland is another player who fell quite a bit. Originally expected to be picked much higher, I’m sure that Colorado was delighted to see him fall to them in the eighth round. Bootland plays for a pretty poor St. Michael’s team, and has been expected to be one of the key players to pull them into respect. So far, it’s been a difficult task. He’s a good power forward type. He may be a steal-type of player.

12. Sean Kotary, C Straight out of high school, Colorado thinks they may have another Chris Drury type of player. While this is highly doubtful, Kotary is another Prep school type who will be playing the college game for a couple of years to mature, and then some after that. It’s way too early to make a call on this type of player. A definite long-term prospect.

13. Blake Ward, G Ward is a good goalie, who played on a bad team, simply put. He had some strong numbers on a pretty weak Tri-City team, and took over the lead goaltending role from Jomar Cruz. Ward’s brother, Lance, is a former New Jersey Devil first round pick, who re-entered, and was re-drafted by Florida, and is currently in their system. Blake’s value as a NHL player in the ninth round can only improve from here.